Archive for the 'debate' Category

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Re: Danmark hægtet af

madsenserienalen.jpgMit og T. Thorhauges (ja, drenge, det stod der sort på hvidt) indlæg om den danske tegneseriekultur fra det nye Strip! (ja, drenge, det er lavet til bladet, ikke til Bunkeren) har sat en debat igang på Seriejournalen, der nu er oppe på flere sider. Henrik Rehr gjorde mig opmærksom på dette, da han sendte mig følgende tekst, taget fra samme debat, i en email:

“Matthias’ website er efterhånden blevet en noget privat affære. Hvis man synes hip-hop, Tour de France, renaissancemalere og lidt spredt fægtning om tegneserier er liiige ens kop te, så er det et dejligt site, men for my money er der for meget marskandiserbutik over det, Især hvis man sammenligner det med Rackham. Hvor Rackham gjorde en fokuseret indsats for den del af tegneserielandskabet, Thomas og Matthias fandt interessant og prisværdigt, lider Metabunkeren af en katastrofalt mangel på en mission. Der bliver alt for meget tilfældig sludder-for-en-sladder over sitet, der efterhånden ikke adskiller sig stort fra 1.00000(indsæt selv flere nuller) andre blogs/ facebook/ my space tilbud af yderst blandet karakter, og Metabunkeren fylder mindre og mindre i mit ugentlige mediebrug. Jeg anbefaler Matthias at skele lidt til Tom Spurgeons Comics Reporter, der hver dag er spækket med nyheder og andet guf og altid et besøg værd. Det er ikke sagt for at være sur eller modbydelig, men Metabunkeren virker som en træt og noget tynd skygge af Rackham og jeg finder sitet mindre og mindre relevant. Måske også fordi Thomas og Matthias i virkeligheden ikke har meget nyt at byde på i deres kritik/ begejstring. Hvis jeg skal være rigtigt flabet minder deres indsats mest af alt om de europæiske albums udvikling i 90erne, en gang lunken opvarmning af de samme tanker og ideer, som man allerede har stiftet bekendtskab med mange gange efterhånden. Friske ideer/ tiltag søges, hvis min svindende interesse ikke skal ende i total ligegyldighed.”

Jeg svarede ham som følger:
Continue reading ‘Re: Danmark hægtet af’

Who Drew the Original Spider-Man? The Debate

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The week before last, I posted a link to Morten Søndergård’s article on the first Spider-Man stories and Jack Kirby’s possible involvement in them on the Comics Journal messageboard. This sparked an interesting debate about the validity of Morten’s hypothesis, involving some of the foremost specialists on Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby and early Marvel. I figured I would save the best of it for posterity here. Continue reading ‘Who Drew the Original Spider-Man? The Debate’

Re: Christophe Blain, et. al. II, now with update!

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Pepo has responded to my comments on his description of the visual qualities of Christophe Blain’s comics a couple of days ago. He emphasizes that, in comparing Blain with McCay and Herriman, he is not making a straight comparison of quality, but one of kinship. I got that the first time. He goes on to describe a very different comic, Frank Miller and Lynn Varley’s Dark Knight Strikes Back as another comic that succeeds as a work of art because it offers up a visual vision of strong, compelling originality, implying that that’s what Blain does too.

And that’s where I disagree. Yes, Blain’s work is visually pleasing to look at, it’s impressive. But it is far from as original and as compelling as McCay’s, Herriman’s, or even Miller and Varley’s. As I mentioned earlier, it looks like the work of at least a dozen other cartoonists on the French market (only better than most of them). Continue reading ‘Re: Christophe Blain, et. al. II, now with update!’

Re: Christophe Blain, et. al.

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All right, so I’m in Italy and haven’t posted anything for a while. Lots of stuff coming up. In the meantime, Pepo Mhas posted a link to an interview with Christophe Blain over on his excellent blog Con C de Arte (bookmark now!), where he takes the opportunity to comment again on my stated opinion on Blain’s work and that of other French cartoonists of his ilk, something we and a bunch of others had a good debate a little over six months ago.

I don’t have anything to add to what I wrote back then, but just want to correct what seems to me a misconception in Pepo’s assessment of the points I made: I am not looking for ‘literary comics’ from Blain and the other cartoonists I’ve been criticising, nor am I blind to their dazzling graphic skills. However, they still lack substance. Their art is beautiful but boring, and ultimately their work is conservative and bourgeois, which is a shame because they are so talented. Continue reading ‘Re: Christophe Blain, et. al.’

That Pernicious ‘Literariness’ of Contemporary Comics

Noah Berlatsky has ignited an interesting discussion on the state of contemporary ‘alternative’ American comics with a typically harsh blanket assessment of the state of the art form in America. Tim Hodler responds, Berlatsky answers and clarifies, while Eric Reynolds and others make interesting points in his comments section. Oh, and Hodler re-responds. I don’t have much to add that I haven’t already said in my discussion with Noah about much the same issues a while back (here, here and here) or in my recent review of Bart Beaty’s book Unpopular Culture, but I just wanted to call attention it, as I think it’s all quite relevant to the general artistic assessment of the new wave of comics of the past couple of decades that seems to present itself these years, now that we have such a significant body of work to consider.

Re: Blade Runner FC at Venice

Danish journalist Thomas Berger was in Venice for the screening of Blade Runner – The Final Cut. In response to my speculation on the film (here, and here), he writes:

I was there and saw the film…
The changes aren’t major…

Yes, a few spinners have been added and the lighting has been adjusted in many of the scenes — only for the better. And it’s a new copy — the picture quality is simply fantastic.

Besides that, there’s very little difference between it and the Director’s Cut.

Thanks, Thomas. Sounds good, and goes some ways towards laying my quibbling scepticism to rest.

Yellow Scholarship II

original_keed.jpgTom Spurgeon has responded to my rodomontade on the Yellow Kid from yesterday. He writes:

“I’m not all that convinced by Wivel’s restatement, and I find a lot of his rhetoric slippery. For one, I very obviously didn’t show in my original argument that Gary Groth is ignorant of 19th Century comics-making in favor of a view of Yellow Kid as the genesis of everything. What I pointed out is that Gary was unfairly portrayed that way in a film trailer when I thought it pretty clear he was looking at Yellow Kid as a landmark starting point in terms of industry impact and locking into place a firm path of development at that point forward — the way Christopher Columbus discovered America for modern Europe despite entire civilizations already being here, or the way you can point to seven or eight American college football games as the first one depending on your standards for doing so. Continue reading ‘Yellow Scholarship II’

Yellow Scholarship

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Yesterday, Tom Spurgeon commented briefly on the statement in the opening paragraph of my review of David Kunzle’s Töpffer monograph that the latter “deserves a large part of the credit for debunking the myth of the Yellow Kid as the point of origin, and bringing the history of modern comics before Hogan’s Alley to light in a fledgling academic field, dominated for years by collective denial.” Tom writes:

“…did anyone worth considering ever really take the Yellow Kid seriously as an artistic starting point? I see that mentioned whenever someone brings up Topffer — Gary Groth gets beaten with that argument construction in this movie trailer as if the other comics people caught him in a goof-up. I remember writing about 19th century German cartooning as comics when I was a graduate student in 1992, and I wasn’t exactly rich in my comics knowledge. I always thought it was pretty clear that the Yellow Kid began comics the same way Christopher Columbus discovered America — not in any literal sense, but in a sense where the economic and cultural forces were now combined behind it to lock into place a certain kind of future development for the industry. Did anyone after 1974 or so think otherwise?” Continue reading ‘Yellow Scholarship’

Re: Berlingskes tegneseriekonkurrence

Ovre på Seriejournalen kommenterer Hans Müller, tegneren bag en af de vindende striber i Berlingskes tegneseriekonkurrence, Bladtegner.dk, min kritik:

“Wivel, hvad mener du med “det meget begrænsede eksempelmateriale der er tilgængeligt”…? Du henviser til de 4 eksempler der i sin tid blev lagt på Berlingske.dk, antager jeg. Har du overhovedet ulejliget dig med at læse de 4 striber i de måneder de kørte i avisen? For at holde mig til mit egen stribe, fremhæver du den i mine øjne ringeste af dem alle (den med flyveren) og bruger den som grundlag for at sable hele molevitten som WM til Familiejournalen. Faktisk forholder det sig sådan, at netop den med flyveren ikke kom gennem min egen “censur” da jeg leverede 31 striber til at køre marts måned igennem i avisen. Men du har vel ikke læst resten af dem…? Jeg synes faktisk selv, at rigtigt mange af mine striber holdt et godt niveau, enkelte fungerede ikke rigtigt, men sådan er det jo…det er ikke så ofte man møder serieskabere der er lige skarpe hver eneste dag. …læg til dette det faktum at ingen af serierne fik mere tid end omkring 30 dage til at udvikle sig.” Continue reading ‘Re: Berlingskes tegneseriekonkurrence’

Re: Dansk fankultur

lucha.jpgOven på mit seneste indlæg om dansk fankultur, har det rumsteret lidt ovre i kaffeklubben. Jeg har nogle korte kommentarer:

1. Selvom diskussionen derovre har involveret folk, der er professionelle serietegnere, gør det dem ikke mindre fan-agtige når de diskuterer tegneseriedefinitioner, eller så meget andet. Hvilket er fint nok; det var ikke det min kritik gik på. Hvilket fører mig til:

2. Jeg har intet imod definitionslegen, men synes bare den skråsikre indstilling til/afvisning af tegneserieforskning som enten ikke-eksisterende, inkompetent eller ren og skær løgn og latin var et eklatant eksempel på fanrefleks og generel uvidenhed om hvad der foregår udenfor det snævert definerede tegneseriemikrokosmos visse fans bevæger sig i. Det fortjente skarp påtale. Continue reading ‘Re: Dansk fankultur’

Re: Spiders

phidippus_mystaceus_t.jpgAhem, I was a little fast in my last post about the local Spider-Man 3 poster and didn’t think to actually doublecheck whether any spiders are capable of leaping great distances. Immediately caught in the act of being generally sloppy, I received this email from fellow Danish comics, and Spider-Man enthusiast, Thomas Stærmose:

“There are actually over 5,000 species in the largest family of spiders, jumping spiders, that are capable of… well, take a guess. Continue reading ‘Re: Spiders’

Re: A Certain Tendency in French Comics VI

Oh, yeah, it ain’t over muthafuckas! Pepo and the Con C de Arte crew are back with more commentary on the state of French nigh-mainstream comics. Continue reading ‘Re: A Certain Tendency in French Comics VI’

Re: A Certain Tendency in French Comics V

No, I’m not continuing my diatribe against all those talented, boring French cartoonists here. Just wanted to note that the inimitable Bart Beaty touches upon the issue in his review of Christophe Blain’s Gus over at Comics Reporter. Go, read.

Tangentially related: the press kit strip by Joann Sfar Thomas mentions in his Persepolis-at-Cannes post below reveals that the superstar cartoonists has been hired by the festival to do his comics reportage “Greffier”-style (no haven’t read it yet, but will do. Soon) daily and directly from the festival. And he’s been granted special access to go where no journalists go. Wow. Continue reading ‘Re: A Certain Tendency in French Comics V’

Re: A Certain Tendency in French Comics IV

isaac_pirate_gun.jpgThe discussion on French nigh-mainstream comics continues! (scroll to the bottom for full linkage). Alex Holden, who chimed in earlier, returns with more comments:

Hi Again Matthias-
I have still been thinking about this discussion a bit.

I can’t agree with your statements that Blutch (in particular) is not interested in exploration, since he has been pretty restless in the way he’s been drawing comics the last 10 years. Since Peplum and Mitchum, I guess after Vitesse Moderne (a pretty book, but not a great read to prove your point…), he seemed to drift away from the brushy “ink orgy” style he had become influential for. C’était Le Bonheur is 95% super thin pen lines and the new Petit Christian stories in “Ferraille Illustré” have capitalized on what I have always thought he should do: comics in the style of his dédicaces (pen, brush and ink, but with a colored pencil for more depth).

Since then, La Volupté has taken this idea even further by eliminating the ink completely and moving completely to charcoal and pencils. I guess these are all still visual components, and could be described as surface elements, but I just don’t think that is the case. I don’t think the mysterious fogginess of the art in La Volupté would work for Le Petit Christian and the thin art of C’était Le Bonheur would fail to produce enough mystery or darkness for La Volupté. Continue reading ‘Re: A Certain Tendency in French Comics IV’

A Certain Tendency in French Comics – Redux

sfar_klezmer.jpgThe discussion of French comics continues here at the Metabunker! Xavier Guilbert, who previously took issue with my rather polemical essay, is back with more comments, and he brought a link to an interesting discussion of the argument with him. This has prompted me to write what I guess is almost a new version of my essay. Here’s Xavier’s email:

Hello Matthias,
Here I am back with yet another reaction to your comments. I must say that the French-language forums (especially here) have been a little puzzled by your comment, not really understanding what really was your gripe with the authors you mention, in general, and your definition of “serious” versus “trifles” in particular.
Continue reading ‘A Certain Tendency in French Comics – Redux’